Brennan: Always Better to Capture, Not Kill, Terrorists

Dianne Feinstein has to clear the room as CIA nominee testifies on drones

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 7, 2013 3:46 PM CST

(Newser) – John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to run the CIA, went to Capitol Hill today and defended the US drone strategy he helped engineer as Obama's top counterterror adviser. The drone strikes are necessary, he testified, because the US remains "at war" with al-Qaeda and other terrorists bent on attacking the US, reports AP. They're also legal and carefully monitored, he added. Some highlights:

  • Protesters cleared: Code Pink protesters repeatedly interrupted Brennan early, prompting Dianne Feinstein to order the room cleared, reports Politico. Sample slogans and signs: “Brennan = war criminal,” "Mrs. Feinstein, are your children more important than the children of Pakistan and Yemen?" "Don't drone me, bro," and "Assassination is against the Constitution."

  • Kill or capture? When Saxby Chambliss suggested Brennan thought it was better to kill a terrorist with a drone rather than capture him, Brennan responded, “I never believe it’s better to kill a terrorist than to detain him," reports the Washington Post.
  • Waterboarding: Brennan, who served in the CIA under George W. Bush, said he raised "personal objections" to waterboarding but didn't have the authority to stop it, reports USA Today. "Waterboarding is reprehensible and should not be used," he said. Asked whether such interrogation techniques helped lead to Osama bin Laden, he said, "I do not know what the truth is."

John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill Thursday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Protesters from Code Pink, a social justice group, disrupt the start of the hearing.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
John Brennan arrives on Capitol Hill, flanked by security.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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Politico has video of today's protesters at the John Brennan hearing.   (Politico)

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